• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9

'Polanski's version of Macbeth is a remarkably pessimistic view of the world, antithetical in almost all respects to Shakespeare's.' (Adapted from E. Pearlman, Macbeth on Film: Politics, Reader, p. 145). Discuss.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

AA 306 - TMA 03 'Polanski's version of Macbeth is a remarkably pessimistic view of the world, antithetical in almost all respects to Shakespeare's.' (Adapted from E. Pearlman, Macbeth on Film: Politics, Reader, p. 145). Discuss. Prior to discussing its validity, Pearlman's assertion requires some clarification. It is understood to suggest that through the depiction of tenth or eleventh century Scotland, Shakespeare's Macbeth, and Polanski's cinematic version of it, present particular views of the political world.1 The issues, which the play and the film raise, are generic, in that they can apply beyond the specific setting. Although Pearlman records Polanski's own observation that the scene in which Macduff's castle is invaded draws on his own life experiences,2 his assertion does not suggest that the play and film represent the comprehensive worldviews of Shakespeare and Polanski respectively. This would require close interpretation within the context of their bodies of work, absent from Polanski's essay. Pearlman argues that Shakespeare's view of the political world expressed in Macbeth is characterised by optimism, while criticising Polanski for his pessimism. This view is largely, though not wholly sustained, the locus of disagreement being that Shakespeare's play does also incorporate elements of pessimism. ...read more.

Middle

An instance, where evidence of this emerges, is the scene in which Malcolm is named 'Prince of Cumberland' (1.4.39). Regan has noted how this act recognises that succession in Scotland was not automatically hereditary.7 Shakespeare acknowledges the potential for the absence of a formal system for the transfer of power to be a destabilising factor, in the response of Macbeth to the naming. Having considered that 'chance may crown me / Without my stir,' (1.3.143-4) the naming of Malcolm becomes 'a step/On which I must fall down or else o'erleap' (1.4.48-9), blocking a natural succession by Macbeth and compelling him to act on his 'black and deep desires' (1.4.51). Polanski's expands the scope of scene to suggest that it not only Macbeth's ambition, which is thwarted by Duncan, the camera briefly shifting to Donalbain, his face half-buried in shadow, bearing a grim expression, suggestive of potential rivalry for the succession between the two brothers. Banquo's response to Malcolm's naming is to unenthusiastically mumble 'Hail, Prince of Cumberland', his eyes raised to the roof. Polanski's overall characterisation of Banquo arguably draws more upon the source material for Macbeth than does the play itself. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final, closing shot of Donalbain approaching the witches also fatally undermines Shakespeare's optimistic conclusion, reintroducing the witches as the representation of Donalbain's own ambitions. The discordant music, tempestuous weather and bleak landscape replicate that which accompanies Macbeth's first approach to the witches and reinforces the beginning of a new cycle of disorder. Pearlman argues that 'Shakespeare's cycle is from one legitimate king to the next.' While this argument can be sustained, as the play moves from the reign of Duncan, through Macbeth, to Malcolm, a more appropriate interpretation is perhaps that Shakespeare's play follows a linear trajectory from disorder to order, from the 'hurly-burly' of the opening scene to the 'grace of grace' which marks the close of the play. While elements of pessimism do appear in Shakespeare's Macbeth, the view expressed through the play is predominantly optimistic in that order is restored and individuals learn from experience. In contrast, Polanski's film does suggest a cyclical pattern, disorder interspersed with periods of order. Polanski's pessimism lies in the suggestions that ambition, and disloyalty, are prevalent in Scottish political society; that men fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors; and that the combination of these two factors with the inherent weaknesses of Scottish political society remove the hope of a stable political future. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Macbeth Film Comparison

    Here, the music is loud and upbeat in contrast to the hissing beforehand- just like the 1971 version. Possibly in an attempt to entice the audience of the 21st century, Wright uses very violent scenes- such as depicting men being shot with submachine guns by Macbeth.

  2. To what extent is Macbeth wholly responsible for his ruin, which destroys not only ...

    monarchy in Scotland; he has ended up killing the one he loved. Not only did he kill his wife, but his best friend and his captain, Banquo. Is Macbeth 'too full of the milk of human kindness' as Lady Macbeth describes him, or is he the 'butcher' that Malcolm considers him to be in the final scene of the play?

  1. A comparison of the Dagger scene, Act 2, Scene 1, from 'Macbeth' as presented ...

    The diversion works and they stop in their tracks and walk back down the stairs to Macbeth. We see Lady Macbeth carry on walking as she goes to the guards. All three walk on, towards their chamber, Macbeth quickly looks over his shoulder to check that Lady Macbeth has managed to leave.

  2. Is Macbeth a Political or Dramatic text? Shakespeare wrote "Macbeth" as a very ...

    Gender was a big issue when Shakespeare was writing plays. The men were above the women in the social hierarchy, whatever jobs they do. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband by questioning his manhood, "are you a man" Macbeth sees him manhood as very important to himself so if Lady Macbeth

  1. Polanski's Version of Macbeth

    complete opposite, equally what may seem foul on the outside could be fair in the inside. Lady Macbeth who seems very fair on the outside, even the King thinks so, but she is the one who goes behind the kings back and instigates his murder with her husband.

  2. Discussion of Macbeth - An Introduction

    and murder her own baby rather than break such a promise, "dashed the brains out, had I sworn as you have done to this." Lady Macbeth again refers to herself in a mothering position; this reverts to her earlier speech when she asks for milk to be turned into "gall".

  1. Choose three minor characters from the list below and discuss their dramatic functions in ...

    In V ix 38-39, "...by the grace of Grace, we will perform in measure, time and place." This line reveals the difference of personality of Malcolm and Macbeth, Malcolm is humble and thankful as he claims that the job of restoring order is not his own while Macbeth has excess pride and tyranny.

  2. I will be looking at and comparing two different film interpretations of act 3 ...

    It gives the banquet hall a sense of intimacy to give the impression that Macbeth wants to close other people out of this event and to get the thought of killing his best friend out of his mind. It is nearly as if he is trying to forget what he

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work